Letter: Fundraiser for housing for Syrian refugee family a success

Thanks so supporters of bid to accommodate Syrian family in municipally owned house

Many thanks to the Oak Bay News for the invaluable help and support you provided recently to the grassroots community group, Friends of Hampshire House.

Many of the people attending the event at the Oaks Restaurant on May 14 cited the ads and article in the community newspaper as the source of information that brought them to the sold-out musical evening.

The passionate and moving music of local world music trio Saffron and special guest artist Syrian classical violinist Sari Alesh brought tears to the eyes of many attendees as well as repeated requests for more music.

A recent refugee from war-torn Syria, Alesh played seamlessly with the veteran trio after only one practice session and his solo performance was spectacular.

The Oaks staff prepared a special Middle Eastern menu for the evening and local businesses and residents contributed items for the evening’s silent auction.

The net surplus from the benefit event including the sale of admission tickets, silent auction proceeds and cash donations amounted to just over $4,000 including $257.55 raised by passing the hat for Fort McMurray. The latter amount was matched by the Bank of Montreal and donated to the Red Cross.

We have deposited the remaining amount into a trust account and will provide a full accounting at the time of disbursement.

If not required for the proposed updating project, the money will be disbursed pro rata to organizations in our community sponsoring refugee families to assist them in paying for housing.

The Friends of Hampshire House planned this event as the first of several fundraising activities as a way for the community to come together and raise money for the updating of the municipally owned house at 1531 Hampshire Rd.  A decision to proceed, or not, has yet to be made by the mayor and council.

A big heartfelt thank you goes out to our community for your enthusiastic support and contributions to yet another wonderful evening of good company, great food and music.

Joe Blake and Jan Mears

On behalf of the Friends of Hampshire House